Regardless of whether you elect to upgrade your iPod to one of the newest models or decide instead to purchase another MP3 player, one thing is undeniable: the earbuds that come packaged with your new device aren't going to provide the best possible listening experience. To that end, I've compiled several tips aimed at helping you ditch crappy headphones in favor of a pair that will treat your ears the way they deserve to be treated.
You may have noticed that this column enjoyed a hiatus last week. You may have also taken note of a little announcement from Apple about some new iPods. That was no coincidence; I spent the first several days of September up to my neck in the related iTunes 10 news.
Still, the new MP3 players didn't escape my attention, mainly because I'm eager to replace my essentially ruined second-gen iPod Touch. But more importantly, should you upgrade to one of the new iPods? To answer just that question, I spent some time with all three players.
The first … Read more
Record-breaking heat in San Francisco earlier this week got me thinking about the effect of temperature and other external conditions on portable electronics. Most gadgets weren't designed to withstand extreme heat or cold, or to fend off excessive moisture (with some notable exceptions). With that in mind, I've compiled the following tips to help you keep your tech in good working order.
It may already be nearing the end of August, but many of us still have several warm, sunny weeks left. During that time, DON'T leave your cell phone, MP3 player, or other portable device in your car all day long--especially in direct sunlight. (In this city, doing that is just begging to have your car window smashed in, as well.) Gadgets, like prescription meds, are best kept at room temperature. Exposing them to extremes can damage the internal hardware, causing system malfunctions and general user unhappiness.
If you're wondering about the limitations of your device, DO check out the packaging; most electronics call out an appropriate temperature range in the specs. For example, the iPod Touch is guaranteed operational between 32 degrees and 95 degrees Fahrenheit. As you can see, the upper end of that range is not all that high. From what I've been told, many parts of the country also dip well below freezing some months of the year, so heed this advice in the winter as well. (Or just spend November through March in California--it's totally affordable, I swear.)… Read more
As of this morning, I had reached a point of stoic reserve about covering the whole ditching your MP3 player issue, a topic that I've been avoiding like the plague since it makes me depressed and nostalgic. Happily, I was saved at the last minute by an article about increased hearing loss in adolescents that the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) posted yesterday.
As more and more people listen to music on the go, whether through their cell phones or dedicated MP3 players, innumerable ears are exposed an assault of audio through headphones. These listening implements aren't inherently bad, but they can contribute to hearing issues over time if certain precautions aren't taken. The following advice can help to ensure that you continue to hear all sound as nature intended it.
I feel that this should be an obvious point, but it always bears repeating: DON'T listen to your music at ear-splitting levels. The quickest and easiest way to damage your hearing is to expose your ears to overly-loud sounds, music or otherwise; this is the reason that people who work at factories (and some other loud locations) are often required to wear earplugs under local health and safety laws.
So how loud is too loud? Anything over 75 decibels, according to one study. Of course, it's tough for most consumers to accurately measure this; when in doubt, DO employ the volume limiting feature on your listening device. Apple's various iPods and most of Sony's Walkman players include this functionality. Alternatively, you can even pick up a pair of earbuds that ensure safe listening levels, such as the Ultimate Ears Loud Enough earphones.… Read more
Last week, I turned the tables and asked you for advice on what the next Dos & Don'ts topic should be. Well, the masses have spoken, and though there was a fair amount of interest in every option presented, with five out of the six topics ranging around 15 percent in the poll, the clear winner is Craigslist personals with about 24 percent of the votes. Far be it from me to let you down.
Today marks the 20th weekiversary of this Dos & Don'ts column, and I'm finding it hard to believe that I've really been churning these things out since March. That, or maybe I'm just fresh out of ideas--the horror! Actually, I have so many rattling around in my brain that it has become exceedingly difficult to actually choose one and stick to it for a handful of paragraphs. This is precisely why I'm passing the buck this week and letting the rest of you decide on the topic, which will be addressed next Thursday.
I've … Read more
Technology goes a long way toward making our personal and professional lives easier and more enjoyable. But what many people may not realize is that it can also be an integral tool in making the lives of others better. From Web-based volunteering to device donation, there are a plethora of ways you can do good with tech. Here are a few tips to get you started.
With the hectic schedules that many of us contend with day in and day out, it's easy to make an excuse not to volunteer your limited free time. But DON'T. With the variety of online volunteering options available today, you don't even have to leave the comfort of your home to help out a person or organization in need.
Even better, some companies have opportunities that only take a few minutes and can be done whenever you have a moment to spare, so you don't have to stress about fitting yet another obligation into an already crammed schedule. DO check out organizations like The Extraordinaries, which offers a platform that allows those with a variety of skills to participate in micro volunteering.
Pressed for time but have plenty of cold, hard cash to spare? DO visit the Web sites of causes close to your heart to find out about quick and easy ways to donate. A huge number of nonprofit organizations such as the Audubon Society, your regional PBS affiliate, Farm Aid, and many more now accept text donations, which are automatically added to your cell phone bill in easily-digestible increments of $5 to $10 (in most cases).… Read more
It's only a matter of time before the prevalence of online video makes cable television obsolete. In fact, the time has already arrived for some of us: I've been living very happily without TV for nearly two years. Of course, the experience still needs some tweaking before it's going to woo mainstream users away from their cable subscriptions entirely. In the meantime, however, there are several ways to make Web watching more enjoyable.
If the popularization of the digital camera made self-portrait photos feasible, then the proliferation of social Web (and online dating) sites has made them inevitable, even essential. As such, the practice has become a bit of an art for those who strive to capture the best shots. If you're considering honing your own skills in this arena, the following tips should come in handy.
First, let's talk devices. Of course, you could always use a digital camera, connect it to your computer, download the images, and then upload them to your profile. But that's so 2007. Instead, … Read more
When I was but a wee lass hunting for my very first San Francisco apartment, Craigslist was just starting to make a name for itself as an instrumental tool for such endeavors in the Bay Area. Now, the site is the place for classifieds online, with a presence in hundreds of cities around the globe.
One of the many useful categories on Craigslist is the "for sale" section, which allows you to list your unwanted goods and search for those that are lacking in your life--and it's totally free, to boot. As a seasoned navigator of this … Read more